Monday, April 8, 2013

Book Review: The Ollie Chandler Collection by Randy Alcorn

In this compendium of three of Alcorn's novels (Deadline, Dominion, Deception), readers are treated to three superbly written and thought-provoking books that keep you engaged and interested throughout. Alcorn's style is consistent. Each book contains a main storyline, in these works a murder mystery. 

This main storyline drives the books and surrounds a cast of characters that remains pretty consistent in each book, but focusing on a different member of central casting in each. If Alcorn stuck to just the mystery storyline, the books would be excellent stories running around 200-300 pages each. But that would be too simple. Instead, Alcorn adds layers to the stories, generally dealing with social/spiritual issues. He includes aspects of both heaven and hell in each book, emphasizing the rewards of choosing a life redeemed by Christ and the consequences of living a life apart from Christ. 

In this Alcorn pulls no punches- he makes it clear that being a "good" person or an "evil" person makes no difference. Both will spend eternity apart from God if they reject redemption. If this is not enough, Alcorn also tackles social/Biblical issues in each book. Things like racism and racial reconciliation, abortion, homosexuality, premarital sex and STDs, and a variety of other conservative/liberal issues are found in the pages. 

Alcorn uses a fictional storyline to advance Biblical teaching, a feature that adds layers to the stories but also can be distracting at times. That leads to my only criticism of the books, and it is a minor one. Each book is hundreds of pages longer than it would be if boiled down to its basic storyline, and all the added elements can be difficult to wade through. I would not let that stop anyone from reading the books- they are excellent examples of well written Christian fiction. 

I give them 5 out of 5 stars.

I received a free e-copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah publishing in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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